The teenage Greek Australian superstar of the Hopman Cup will be hitting our screens again, as he hopes to have a cracking start to the Australian Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, 16, will be competing at the qualifying games as the Australian Open starts up.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, 16, was in Perth as a Hopman Cup reserve last week for Bernard Tomic but, following a dramatic turn of events, found himself serving for the US against former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco, and again playing with Venus Williams.
Verdasco, ranked 24 in the world, might have thought he was in for a very easy win, but Kokkinakis stunned the crowd, winning the first game.
The teenager’s serve made Verdasco panic when he had him on the ropes at 3-0 in a first-set tiebreaker.
But, the Spaniard’s experience came to the fore and he took the first set 7-6 (7-4) before winning the second 6-3.
There was little confusion as to where the crowd’s allegiance went, with the big local crowd supporting the young player right through.
“I was playing off adrenaline. I don’t think many 16-year-olds get to hit with guys like this and do what I just did, so it is pretty amazing,” Kokkinakis told the media waiting for him.
“It was a great feeling, it was pretty tight in the first set and it was great to be there with a player that has been contending for grand slams before.”
Verdasco’s post-match TV interview was briefly interrupted as Kokkinakis was cheered off centre court by the crowd.
“He has a great future and if he keeps going the way he is you will all have a good player on your hands,” Verdasco said.
Kokkinakis also featured in the mixed doubles later in the day, where he partnered five-time Wimbledon singles champion Venus Williams.
A Facebook page made in his honour on Sunday has already received 680 likes and is growing.
The Hopman Cup appearance was certainly a step up in competition level for Kokkinakis, who is currently ranked 756 and still plays junior events.